WCR's Eliana Siegal was at House of Blues last Sunday to catch Blue October, Stars in Stereo and Chicago's own Empires. Check out her thoughts on each band's set below, and head over to the Saudade Photography Facebook page for many more photos from the night.
Stars in Stereo:
|Stars in Stereo|
The first word that came to mind was I watched Blue October play was "impassioned." It was an interesting contrast -- to see the man on-stage elegant and sharp in a three-piece suit begin to reveal himself to us through the music. The words he sang were simple enough to resonate with all in the audience, and were conveyed with such a sincerity that even I couldn't help but be moved. This is clearly a band who has soul. Their music spans over 15 years and five studio albums, and the crowd that night spanned at least three decades; I was impressed that they had reached such a wide range of people. The band thundered through their extended 20-song set without losing their momentum or the attention of the crowd who, all throughout, kept up melodically as if it was the band’s first song.
At times, Justin Furstenfeld sang like he was speaking to all the people in his life who had disappointed him. On an even more personal note, Furstenfeld introduced a song toward the middle of the set by saying he had grown a lot as a person since the time he'd written a lot of those lyrics, and he wished he had listened to himself back then. In a way, some of the songs were letters to his former self. The “Quiet Mind” tour is named after the 2003 song of the same title, and is a celebration of Furstenfeld’s current state, one of less turbulence and more peace.
There were many couples in the crowd, and it seemed that as they swayed back and forth they were all envisioning their own version of "18th-Floor Balcony," thinking back to a time when they, too, "had their hearts on display for all to see." All of the words would just have been poetry if not for the sounds spun behind them. Furstenfeld was supported by his band: Ryan Delahoussaye on guitar and violin, Jeremy Furstenfeld on drums, Julian Mandrake on guitar, and Matt Noveskey on bass. The whole band played with the skill that comes from years of hard work and the music of their creation was haunting. Blue October showed every person at the show -- devoted listener and non-believer alike -- the secret to their success: honesty and passion.